SWARM (3-9) at ROUGHNECKS (7-5)
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Season series: The Minnesota Swarm and Calgary Roughnecks have met just once this season. Minnesota will be seeking revenge for a 15-13 loss at the hands of the Roughnecks on Feb. 8 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Big Story: The Roughnecks have a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Swarm and a loss by the Vancouver Stealth. The Stealth host the Buffalo Bandits in Langley, BC on Saturday.
The Riggers have been good at home this season, posting a 5-2 record, but fell 15-7 to the Edmonton Rush on Mar. 14 — the last time they took to the turf at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“The last time we played there [against Edmonton] we let the crowd down,” Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky said. “We came out with no compete. [Edmonton] basically dictated the pace and we just didn’t step up.
“We take great pride in playing [at home]. Our home record in the last couple of years hasn’t been very strong and prior to that Edmonton game we were going in at 5-1.”
The importance of not only making the playoffs, but securing a post-season home game is something the Roughnecks set out to do from the onset of the season.
“I think more than anything else we want to be able to have a home playoff game and that’s what we’re really, really pushing for,” Malawsky said. The first step is to get ourselves in [a playoff spot] and then get into a position to reward the fans and the organization.”
Swarm: After dropping seven of their past eight, Minnesota regrouped for a thrilling 10-9 win over the East Division leading Buffalo Bandits on Saturday. The Swarm rallied in the fourth quarter with a pair of goals to tie the game before Callum Crawford finished the job, tallying in overtime.
“I think for the whole organization, that was a big win for us,” Swarm assistant coach Aime Caines said Wednesday. “The fans have been supporting us and to get that win for them was big. It’s no secret that we’ve struggled this year—home and away—so it was good emotionally for the team, it was a huge lift for us and we’re looking for that last playoff spot so we’re going to try to put together some wins at the end of the season here and just start rolling.”
The Swarm are expecting a high-scoring affair, something that is often a bi-product of when the two clubs meet.
“We always play tough against Calgary and they always play us tough, it’s usually a shootout there,” said Caines. “We’re going to make some adjustments to our defence and try to get our [offence] rolling and set goals for them and hopefully stick to our game plan against Calgary because it’s going to be a tough one.”
Roughnecks: Calgary bounced back from a disappointing setback to the Rush with a convincing 13-8 victory over Vancouver in Langley on Friday.
The Riggers stifled the Stealth with their defence and created a number of quality scoring chances from their transitional play, continually pushing the ball up the floor.
“It (transition game) has been [good]. Just like last year — when everyone was beating us up about our transition game — we’re a transition-possession team,” Malawsky said. “We’re smart with the ball, we’re not going to try to go to the net two-on-two in transition when we can have Dane Dobbie and Daryl Veltman run a two-man game.”
Malawsky trusts his defensive players to make the right call when looking for opportunities off turnovers.
“We’ve continued to be smart, we have a very athletic back-end and they’ve been given the full green light to make the right decisions in transition, and they have been,” he said. “We haven’t had to pull the reigns back and that’s a testament to our guys.”